Spotlight on… Cabinet Knobs, Pulls and Handles  

Row of kitchen cabinet drawer fronts

External hardware like knobs, pulls and other handles are the jewelry of the kitchen. They can help enhance your kitchen’s look as well as its use. Handles improve our grip and make opening our cabinets easier, as well as preventing whatever might be on our hands from dirtying the cabinet doors.

You may have heard to pick your exterior hardware last, and there are a few reasons for this.

  1. Hardware compliments and refines a kitchens design, often taking it that extra step from nice to WOW, so you’ll want everything else to be chosen already before you add the finishing touch.
  2. They are easily changeable, so its the doors and fronts that you need to be sure of.
  3. If your budget is tight, it’s an easy upgrade later. Just give a little thought towards the future as you chose your interim design.

These oak cabinet doors have a driftwood stain on them to produce this color.

The most important thing to decide on is the type of handle.
Whether a pull or a knob, the type of handle you choose should be one that you want to stay with. While you can always change out the hardware, the holes that held them will remain. On cabinets with painted finishes, these holes are possible to hide, but on natural woods, hiding those spots can be very challenging.  You can always fill it with a matching putty, but it’s best to hide it if you can’t re-use it.
With that in mind: A knob can be changed to a handle, and you can either reuse or cover over the original hole, but a handle cannot be switched to a knob without leaving a hole or two exposed to view. A handle can be replaced with hardware the same length or longer, but a shorter handle will expose the marks.

Knobs vs Pulls: What to use where?
A broad rule of thumb is that if it has a hinge, use a knob, and if it has slide, use a pull. This is a rule that can be safely broken, though, so if you want to do all pull or all knobs, go right ahead. All knobs is great for a vintage look, while all pulls can be either old-school Traditional style (with curves and details), or sleek Contemporary (squared-of and smooth).

Finishing Touches
The finish on your cabinet handles doesn’t have to be matchy-matchy with features like your faucet or lighting, but they should compliment each other.

Get Hands-On
Visuals are great, but discomfort when using your handles can turn a geat design choice into a waste.

Staying On Budget
As we mentioned earlier, as long as you know what type of handles you want where, you can trim some dollars now and upgrade later. We don’t recommend sticking with cheap hardware, because in the long run, you get what you pay for. That being said, it can be worth paying to take your time and shop around or save up for the perfect hardware for you.

The Switcheroo
When it’s time for a change, it’s a fairly quick and possibly easy fix. If you won’t have to drill any new holes, this is one project that you might be able to safely DIY. If new holes are needed and you don’t want to risk making unsightly marks on your doors, calling a pro is your best bet. No point in ruining doors just to replace handles.

Now you’re ready to start your journey into the world of hardware styles!

Towson, MD



Share this: